A Batumi court found former leader of the Adjara Autonomous Republic Aslan Abashidze guilty of misuse of office and embezzlement of GEL 98.2 million state funds, and sentenced him to a 15-year imprisonment in absentia on January 22.
The court has also ruled that Abashidze should repay GEL 98.2 million (about USD 57.3 million) to the state budget.
The trial was held in Abashidze’s absence, as the ex-leader has been living in Moscow since his ouster in May 2004. Abashidze gave up power after the central authorities in Tbilisi provided security guarantees for him, with President Saakashvili’s administration pledging that it would not seek Abashidze’s extradition.
Aslan Abashidze also faces murder charges. In March 2006 the prosecutor’s office officially charged him with the murder of his former deputy, Nodar Imnadze, in 1991.